Official: Saks High will be ready for start of school
by Brian Anderson
Jul 01, 2013 | 4411 views |  0 comments | 100 100 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite extensive fire damage to one of the school’s four buildings, students are expected to return to classes at Saks High School on schedule Aug. 19, officials said today.

At a called meeting of the Calhoun County Board of Education, Mike Fincher, director of safety for Calhoun County Schools, said engineers have developed a timeline to complete cleanup on the campus’ main building, which received smoke, fire and water damage from an electrical fire in June. Fincher estimates cleanup will conclude by the end of September.

“That’s maybe aggressive, but it’s what we’re shooting for,” Fincher said. “This could all change with issues.”

Fincher said all debris, including burned ceiling tiles, had been removed from the school and engineers were assessing the damage. No cost estimates for cleanup were available on Today.

Fincher said the second phase of cleanup will include electrical, plumbing and heating and ventilation demolition, expected to be completed by July 24 and asbestos removal by July 31.

Rooftop repairs are on schedule to be completed by Aug. 19, coinciding with the first day of classes.

The final phase of the project will include taking bids for replacing electrical, plumbing and ceiling tiles, as well as painting. Fincher said he expects all work to completed between Sept. 15 and Sept. 30.

Although classes resume more than a month before the expected end of cleanup, Superintendent of Calhoun County Schools Joe Dyar said there are enough available classrooms on campus to accommodate the return of students.

“We have a 5A campus with a 3A student body,” Dyar said. “We’re blessed at this time with that.”

One possible issue still looming is the damage to library books. Maintenance Supervisor Dee Ingram said the board would need to bid out a contract for the book cleaning and the process could not take place at the school.

Dyar said Saks High School can borrow from other county school libraries if the cleaning isn’t complete in time for the start of classes.

Fincher said a burglary at the high school on Saturday was unrelated to the fire damage, and the break-in happened at a different building on campus.

At the meeting today, the board approved the recent hire of Michael Graham as assistant principal of Ohatchee High School. Graham did not attend today's meeting, but is expected to start on July 9.

The board is scheduled to meet again on July 25.

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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